Written Question on Pregnancy

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

See more on: "Pregnancy"
Date Title Questioner
11 Sep 2017, 2:44 p.m. Pregnancy Mims Davies


To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that mothers are properly supported following childbirth with their (a) general and (b) mental health.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

The Government is committed to ensuring that mothers are properly supported following childbirth with their general and mental health.

We are committed to improving maternity outcomes and experience of care for women and babies, as set out in Safer Maternity Care: next steps towards the national maternity ambition, published in October 2016. This should start before childbirth and the Government is supporting the Our Chance campaign to support women to understand advice about healthy pregnancies and how to act on it.

The National Institute for Care and Excellence has published quality standards on postnatal care, which includes the core care and support that every woman, their baby and if appropriate, their partner and family should receive during the postnatal period. This includes recognising women and babies with additional care needs and referring them to specialist services as required.

Evidence shows that the six-eight week appointment is a particularly crucial element of postnatal care. Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review, states that the check should include assessing:

- how a woman has made the transition to motherhood, including her mental health;

- her recovery from the birth, using direct questions about common morbidities;

- longer term health risks for any morbidity identified; and

- any further help she might need whether connected with the birth or not; and what advice she might need about future family planning.

The Department has invested £365 million from 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services, and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period. This includes work to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and consequently improved recovery rates.

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